‘No doubt now that Hightown incinerator is not needed’

A computer-generated image of the proposed energy plant at Hightown Quarry
A computer-generated image of the proposed energy plant at Hightown Quarry

The start of work on a major waste gasification plant in Belfast negates the need for a massive energy from waste incinerator near Mallusk.

That is the view of the NoArc21 anti-incinerator campaign group, which is fighting a controversial plan by regional waste management body arc21 to build a multi-million pound waste incinerator at Hightown Quarry.

Full Circle Power confirmed this week that “site related activities have now begun” on its waste gasification plant at Bombardier in east Belfast - a project the NoArc21 campaigners see as “an alternative” to the proposed Hightown development.

While arc21 denies that the Full Circle Power scheme offers an alternative to its planned energy from waste plant at Boghill Road, the ‘Not In Hightown’ group claims that the privately funded plant at Bombardier will have enough capacity to enable Northern Ireland to achieve its landfill targets.

NoArc21 also argues that the gasification plant at Bombardier, to which there were no objections during the planning process, is on “a suitable site in an industrial area.”

In stark contrast, the arc21 plan has attracted more than 3,500 objections and faces cross-party political opposition.

Colin Buick, chairperson of NoArc21, said: “The commencement of works at Bombardier’s gasification plant removes any doubts over the fact that arc21’s proposal is no longer required.

“The plant at Bombardier will enable Northern Ireland to meet its statutory landfill targets, is appropriately sited in an industrial area and is 100 per cent privately funded.

“It will also protect jobs at one of the region’s biggest private sector employers.

“In contrast, arc21’s Hightown incinerator proposal faces 3,500 public objections and full cross-party political opposition, and comes at huge expense to the public purse.”

Mr Buick claimed that arc21’s proposal is “no longer the only option for local councils” when it comes to waste management.

Calling on the Environment Minister to turn down the arc21 planning application, the Mallusk man added: “Mark H Durkan should now allay the fears and anxieties of thousands of people, and act in the best interests of the taxpaying public, by immediately refusing arc21’s fundamentally flawed application to develop an unnecessary waste incinerator at Hightown.”

arc21 denies that its proposed £240m energy from waste plant at Hightown is surplus to requirements, arguing that it is needed to enable its constituent councils to meet European landfill diversion targets and manage their bin waste more sustainably.